June 2021 Construction Data

2021 construction data

While Construction Monitor provides construction data customized for your business, our friends at Construction Dive regularly provide construction industry “metrics that matter.” The June information they shared comes from several sources and they centralize that data for the rest of us.

Here’s the June 2021 recap:

  • Architecture billings – (Any score over 50 indicates growth.) 58.5 in May up from 57.9; design contracts 63.2 up from 61.7.
  • Construction backlog – Rose in May 2021 to eight months; 0.1 months higher than April 2021 and May 2020.
  • Construction confidence – Rose in May 2020-June 2, 2021, 0.1 months higher than April 2021 and May 2020.
  • Construction jobs – Employment was down by 20,000 in May 2021 with 17,000 non-specialty contractor job losses. Construction has regained 888,000 of the 1.1 million jobs lost in March/April 2020.
  • Construction Spending – Total construction spending January-April 2021 = $452.3 billion, 5.8 percent (±1.0%) above 2020.
    • Educational – $84.8 billion, 0.5% (±1.8%) below March estimate
    • Highway – $99.8 billion, 0.6% (±5.6%) above March estimate
    • Nonresidential – $451.4 billion in April, 0.5% (±0.7%) below March estimate
    • Private – $1,180.7 billion, 0.4% (±0.7%) above March estimate
    • Public – $343.5 billion, 0.6% (±0.6%) below March estimate
    • Residential – $729.2 billion in April, 1.0% (±.03%) above March estimate
  • Construction starts – May 2021 construction starts declined by 1% to $902.8 (seasonally adjusted annual rate)

Condensed Construction Information You Need

Construction data for industry spending, hiring, starts, and billing is available to you, online and free. The information from this blog was gathered from more than six sources. But Construction Dive encapsulates it into one easy-to-read overview.

That’s what Construction Monitor does. The same construction data from building permit information we pull every week is available to you. But sorting it into relevant, usable information is time-consuming.

Have you ever put a price tag on your time? Let’s say you are “worth” $75/hour. It’s safe to say it takes 6-8 hours to refine building permit data into actionable information for your business. Construction Monitor will encapsulate it into one easy-to-read overview. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly – what you need when you need it.

Call or contact us to learn more.

Construction Industry Success Through DE&I

construction industry

The construction industry is better-managing workplace diversity. And construction companies are changing their internal cultures to promote an attitude of acceptance and respect for our differences. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is a workforce initiative for which McCarthy Building Companies Inc. has developed a model. The company recently appointed a DE&I vice president, Kamecia Mason.

Benefits of DE&I for Construction Industry Companies, Communities

Diversity, equity, and inclusion…is a phrase that broadly outlines the efforts an institution takes to create a more welcoming environment for people of less-privileged identities. This can mean working to ensure your upper management is not fully comprised of white men or implementing mentorship opportunities for young professionals of color in your workplace. …(These efforts) seek to create meaningful, systemic change toward more equitable environments.YW Boston

Mason has leadership experience in promoting cultural enhancement and community engagement. She says getting back to the basics of community support is one of the foundations upon which construction companies can build DE&I.

“Community” is not all about employing minority local workers or supporting a Little League team this summer (although that’s always a great thing to do!). It’s also about observing supplier diversity as well.

Recent studies reinforce the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the construction industry as well as others:

  • Companies implementing diversity programs are 70% more likely to enter new markets.
  • Companies with little-to-no diversity are 29% less likely to see above-average profits.
  • Diverse boards deliver 95% more return on equity than traditional boards/councils.
  • Gender diversity improves financial performance.
  • Inclusions and diversity initiatives generate 19% higher employee retention and loyalty.

Targeted Information-Sharing Is Our Purpose

Construction Monitor’s goal is to provide relevant information to construction industry businesses like yours. Our blog is a vehicle for sharing useful information. But our business is sharing customized analytics based on building permit data.

We know every company’s information needs are diverse, so that’s why we request you tell us what you need; what will serve your business best.

Tell us by contacting Construction Monitor today.

Biden’s Budget Boosts Construction Industry

construction industry

On Friday, May 28, 2021, President Biden released his 2022 FY budget. It calls for $6+ trillion in spending that “reimagines how – and for whom – the economy works,” says Vox reporter Cameron Peters. Infrastructure spending and education are focal points.

“Trickle-down economics has never worked,” said Biden. “The best way to grow our economy is not from the top down but from the bottom up and the middle out.”

For the most part, Biden’s ambitious plan benefits our construction industry. But a 13% cut to the Army Corps of Engineers is coming under some scrutiny. But Veterans Affairs would see a 22% increase.

Rebuild Illinois Serves as Construction Industry Flagship

Also in May 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a $45 billion bill that is among the largest capital programs in the construction industry this year and the largest ever in Illinois. It’s also the first program that is multimodal. “Every aspect and mode of transportation in every part of Illinois will be touched by it,” says the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT).

The plan may create approximately 540,000 jobs. IDOT is also renewing efforts to revitalize the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program in hopes of attracting more small businesses to the projects.

The project’s funding breakdown includes:

  • $25.3B – Roads, bridges
  • $4.6B – Mass transit
  • $1B – Rail
  • $679M – Miscellaneous transportation
  • $558M – Aeronautics
  • $492M – Create
  • $312M – Grade crossing protection
  • $150M – Ports

The total is $33.2 billion.

Making a Good Year Better

Hopefully, it’s truly been a happier new year for you. Your Construction Monitor subscription can make it better. Our basic, free information includes:

Most of us are “control freaks.” That’s how we got started in business in the first place. Control freaks say, “I don’t have time” a lot.

Sign on for a one-week free trial to access our subscriber information. If you don’t have time, someone in your organization is eager to grow your business. Look at your team closely to find that person. Then contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Business One Year Post-Pandemic

construction industry

Of the key economic indicators for our country, housing starts are a leading indicator. Housing starts are sensitive to mortgage rates, which are affected by interest rates, so they represent about 4% of annual gross domestic product (GDP). The industry itself and your construction business are considered economic activities.

What’s Changed, Unchanged In 1 Year: Construction Business

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on how we live, socialize, and work. But we’re nothing if not adaptable. What has changed the construction industry since 2020?

  • Architectural design – This may be the most lasting change we’ll see. Commercial construction has altered itself to accommodate safety for traditional gathering spaces. Plan on better air filtration systems and adaptable, modular construction that limits contact.
  • Education – Online classes are zooming (bad pun intended) but there’s no replacement for hands-on training in a hands-on industry. Safer classroom layouts and mask-wearing have helped as well as virtual testing with remote proctoring.
  • Safety – The virus added “new considerations” to safety protocol, says the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER). We added masks as ongoing PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • Scheduling – Staggered shifts to accommodate fewer onsite employees have proven beneficial.

The shortage of skilled workers (“talent”) in the construction business hasn’t changed. One of the factors was the exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce. And now, Gen-Xers (born between 1965-1979/80) are approaching retirement. The pandemic only exacerbated our worker shortage.

The average age of a craft professional
is between 48-52 years old.
Jonathan Arnholz

You need to consider employment incentives and marketing strategies to attract and retain talent to your construction business:

  • Create a positive workplace culture.
  • Develop a formal mentorship program.
  • Foster teamwork; camaraderie.
  • Include employees in the decision-making process.

Involving employees in company business is another strategy that makes sense. Every time you say, “I don’t have time…,” delegate that responsibility to an employee.

You don’t have time to sort building permit data and we do. But if analyzing that data for business development is also a time challenge, consider employee options. Because construction is an essential industry and critical to our economy, keeping it healthy just makes sense. The process begins with you.

Contact Construction Monitor for ideas.

OSHA Updates Vaccination Policy for Construction Industry

COVID-19 vaccine construction workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommended construction industry project managers and team leaders encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) suggested onsite vaccination clinics, paid-time-off incentives, and other promotions to increase the number of vaccinated construction workers.

To clarify, the general consensus is an employer can require the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Michigan and Indiana currently have bills preventing this, but there’s been no action taken.

OSHA 29 CFR 1904 said if an employer required the vaccination as a condition of employment and an employee suffered an adverse reaction to the vaccine, the event should be recorded. Documenting adverse reactions to the vaccine on OSHA 300 logs was required.

Then OSHA said never mind.

OSHA said it felt the Form 300 requirement disincentivized employers’ vaccination encouragement efforts. The May 21 updated guidance is in effect through May 2022.

Employers must record work-related injuries and illnesses if they involve:

  • Days off work
  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Significant injury

While allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine have been rare, many people suffer flu-like symptoms shortly after their vaccinations. Those flu-like reactions can be debilitating enough that the “days off work” stipulation would be applicable.

Construction industry employers were concerned that by recording adverse vaccination reactions (days off work due to flu-like symptoms), enough red flags would be raised that could increase their workers’ comp costs. The logs may have tripped a wire that would increase onsite OSHA inspections. And the “dings” on their OSHA records might have affected bidding opportunities.

Partnering Can Overcome Challenges

Working through the pandemic fallout and encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations remains challenging.

Another challenge faced by the construction industry is we’re still slow to adopt technology. Robotics, drones, 3D architecture – when you’re juggling expenses, upgrades are often low on the list of priorities.

Construction Monitor LLC has an affordable technology that shows a measurable ROI (return on investment). Our information is U.S.-related, but our customers include global investors. To learn more about our technology tools and strategic partnerships, contact us today.

Multistate Construction Industry Companies and COVID

multistate construction industry

The Great Lakes State’s increases in coronavirus cases put even greater pressure on construction industry companies. Calculating exposure risks, vaccine policies – the logistics continue to be difficult. Multistate construction companies are facing “a moving target,” says construction industry writer Katie Clarey. Coronavirus liability laws are inconsistent and vary across state borders.

Construction Industry Businesses Must Manage Liabilities

What are construction industry employers liable for in a pandemic? Even Congress isn’t quite sure.

That’s fine for your business in your state. But what happens when you have multistate projects? “It’s a potential nightmare…in terms of exposure,” Karl Lindegren of Fisher Phillips law firm said.

The solution is to appoint someone – preferably a legal professional – to follow new legislation and liability laws at state and federal levels. This person should also keep track of changing guidelines for project site safety.

If for no other reason, this shows you performed “due diligence” to keep workers safe. It doesn’t matter what the liability laws are; none of them will protect you if you disregard employee safety.

Protect Employees, Protect Yourself

One of the ways to show diligence is to utilize vaccine incentives for hesitant construction workers. Many multistate construction industry company owners also utilize Construction Monitor for local, state, and national business permits information.

You can choose from:

Construction Monitor provides key project data to help suppliers, subcontractors, building professionals, and general contractors to better target and reach new customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business.

Construction Business Miscommunication

construction communication

There is a big market for articles, studies, and how-tos about communication in the construction business. The reason is obvious: miscommunication is extremely costly to our industry. Fifty-two percent of construction business rework is caused by miscommunication. In 2018, that cost our industry $31.3 billion.

We’ve all felt the pain of miscommunication in the field and know that it’s led to rework, lost productivity, and coordination stress.Core

Statistics: Construction Business Issues in Communication

More than 30% of construction business professionals say the breakdown is not the failure to communicate but a failure to respond to communications.

What you need to know:

  • 22% – Emails read-rate
  • 82% – Text messages read within five minutes
  • 98% – SMS messages read-rate

Sending texts and SMS messages increases the likelihood your communication will be read. But what can you do to minimize the lack of response?

Ask for feedback, says Procore, and follow-up when your messages and other forms of communication are ignored. You may want to consider adding a “Please respond by…” to all texts and emails.

Onsite Meeting Information Processing Problems

As a contractor, watch for signs your workers are actually processing the information during onsite meetings. Lack of eye connection is the biggest giveaway. They “connect” with you at the beginning and the end of the meeting but disengage during the information-sharing portion. Project communication problems leading to reworks can be reduced if you know what to look for.

Here are six reasons why workers aren’t paying attention during onsite meetings:

  1. There is a personal problem.
  2. They are confused but don’t want to ask questions.
  3. They are preoccupied with pressure to quickly complete a task.
  4. They aren’t comfortable speaking about jobsite issues in front of others.
  5. They can’t hear over the jobsite background noise and are embarrassed to admit it.
  6. You don’t give them a chance to ask questions.

Construction Monitor Weekly Editions

Construction Monitor makes building permit data available to everyone. We can customize it to work for you and your construction business. Our customized weekly information targets your market development interests.

Call 800.925.6085 or contact Construction Monitor today.

Commercial Spending, Infrastructure Boosts Engineering and Construction Industry

construction industry

In 2020, while many businesses floundered, Dollar General’s sales increased by 16.3%, and operating profits grew to $3.6 billion. Dollar General announced it will add 1,050 stores in 2021, with plans to double the size of its current 17,000 stores. The two designs feature 8,500 and 9,500 square feet. In 2021, about 700 stores featuring the larger design will sell produce and meat. Self-checkout stations will also be included.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened its thousandth “Next Generation” restaurant in March 2021. The store’s design meets DD Green Achievement status for energy savings by using sustainable materials. Efficiency elements include LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and energy-efficient equipment.

And Shoe Carnival plans massive renovations for 2021.

“An uptick in public and commercial spending” could make 2021 a profitable year for the construction industry, says Deloitte. Retail expansions and development will feature prominently, but another factor influencing construction industry developments is digital investment.

Construction Industry To See $3-4 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal

President Biden was scheduled to release details of a huge infrastructure proposal on March 31, 2021. The proposal should include “significant investments to repair roads, bridges and railways, as well as other key elements of an aging and, in some places, dilapidated US core infrastructure system,” said CNN.

Digital Data and Your Construction Industry Business

Our software statistics were some companies’ first experience with the construction digital transformation process. David Mineer

National construction industry news impacts every one of us. Just as some companies are growing, expanding space and operations, some engineering and construction firms are thriving in their local markets. We believe those companies invest in digital information to develop marketing leads and better-manage projects.

We learned from 2008. We learned from 2020. If you aren’t sure how Construction Monitor’s presorted building permits and construction industry data can benefit your company, please ask us. That’s how you learn.

How Would PRO Act Impact Construction Business?

construction industry

Passage of the PRO Act would represent the biggest change in labor law in decades. –National Law Review

On March 9, 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. They also passed it in 2019, but it never made it out of the Senate. The bill currently has 45 backers. It needs 60.

The impact on construction business operations could be profound because PRO passage may reclassify some independent contractors as employees.

Construction Business Operations Depend on Independent Contractors

Independent contractors step in when short-term talent is needed. Employers don’t pay benefits, workers’ compensation, or withhold taxes. It’s an uncomplicated business arrangement that is beneficial to employers. We use the IRS guidelines to define construction business independent contractors and their work. If passed, the PRO Act would make employment guidelines much more stringent. It would also expand unionization rights.

Workers will be considered employees unless:

  • The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
  • The worker is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact.

Most of the time, an independent contractor’s work is performed within “the usual course of business.” This could be the most significant change and there will be harsh penalties ($50,000-$100,000) for violations, including miscommunicating to the worker what their role is (employee vs. independent contractor). Those fines could be devastating to a small construction business.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have said the independent contractor provision will increase costs for construction business employers by $12.1 billion annually. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) says, “The PRO Act is anti-worker, anti-privacy, and anti-recovery.”

Data for Construction Business Building

Construction Monitor is the source for U.S. building statistics. Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us to learn more about ways to use building permit data to build your business.

Construction Trends for Repurposing Malls

construction trends

In 1956, the first U.S. mall opened in Edina, Minnesota. There are entire generations that spent formative years in shopping malls. And construction trends for more malls kept many companies busy for many years.

Over 50% Of Department Stores in Malls Predicted to Close By 2021

U.S. Retail Vacancy Rate May Rise To 7-Year High After Record Store Closings

Macy’s closing 45 More Locations in 2021: What Will Malls Do?

Mall Construction Trends: Now What?

As of 2020, Macy’s was malls’ biggest tenant, and Macy’s has a 3-year plan to shut down 125 stores by 2023. Who’s going to replace Macy’s? It’s silly for mall operators to expect another retail chain to fill the void Macy’s will leave, says financial professional Maurie Backman.

There they sit. Plenty of parking, acres and acres of space. Before they become retail graveyards, what can we do? What can we develop?

Repurposing Ideas

The first and foremost repurposing idea is to develop medical spaces. Vaccination sites dominate, but pandemic mass inoculation may be a temporary event. Healthcare providers are considering mall spaces for primary care offices, specialty care centers, or oncology treatment facilities.

Other ideas include:

  • Churches – Some churches are saying “Hallelujah!” as they take ownership of mall sections. Plus they have room to grow.
  • Gamer sites – Epic Games bought a Cary, NC mall and intends to convert the property. Its entire campus will serve as global gamer headquarters for offices and community space.
  • Offices – If your company is paying rent for several office spaces, centralization can save money.
  • Warehouses – E-commerce/retail fulfillment is big business and even Walmart is seeking space solutions. Modular warehousing can be built inside or added-to a mall space.

Construction Monitor: The Tool for Trend-Setters

Reconfiguring mall spaces will be the construction trend to watch. Or you can be one of the drivers.

Construction Monitor is the nation’s leading source for construction trends. Use our building statistics to develop real-time leads. We’ll show you how.

Call 800.925.6085 (International/435.586.1205) or contact us to learn more about ways to use building permit data.